Day 340

I’m only four days into my tenure at Pollinate and it’s already shaping up to be one of the best months I’ve encountered on the project. From the moment I walked through the door, everyone here has been eager to help me understand Portland and all of the things it has to offer. Thanks to my new colleagues, I already have more than enough suggestions and I’d say that’s a great problem to have. I already feel right at home here and even before the first day ended, it seemed as if I’d been working here for years. I guess it just goes to show how friendly the people of Portland are. I haven’t run into a single bad egg yet.

Aside from the overt kindness, Pollinate is also a very unique agency in many other regards too. The agency consists of a small group of highly dedicated individuals, who are all masters at what they do. Because of this, they’re able to offer clients an end-to-end experience, encapsulating everything from development and creative to planning and execution. It’s all extremely fascinating, because for the level of work they produce, you’d think they have a team of a couple hundred.

Of course, all that hard work clearly demands an equal amount of fun—and they know how to have it. I think that’s why I always enjoy smaller agencies. When there’s no HR department to overthink things, people feel more comfortable in being who they are. And when you combine that freedom with a group who really gets along, you’re always in for an unconventional, highly entertaining workday.

I suppose that’s why Pollinate reminds me a lot of Boxing Clever and Recess Creative. They all share a common bond in being masters of the work hard / play hard mentality. Then again, the high-energy they exude from their single-room office, also reminds a lot of BEAM, We are Social and BooneOakley. So, perhaps that says something about the participating #TGAA agencies? You be the judge.

On Monday night, I also got the chance to catch up with my friend Alex. He actually moved from Cleveland to Portland a few months before I started to plan the whole project out. We talked about how much of a departure the west coast is from the Midwest and also delved into all things soccer, LeBron James and past work experiences.

He was even kind enough to show me around the northwest part of Portland. And it just might be the “Williamsburg” neighborhood I always like to look for in every city. Only time will tell. I’m actually going to interview Alex about his move and post it at some point this month. I think it's a great story and I want to help him share it with you.

All in all, I’ve had a great start to the month and I look forward to what the weekend will bring.

-Steve-

Day 225

One of the great things a large city has to offer is summer programming—from the festivities of Memphis in May to Central Park’s Summerstage concerts, there’s always something new to do. Here in Chicago, I’m lucky enough to be in town for several such events. The first is Taste of Chicago, a blend of food trucks, top chefs and outdoor concerts. I really wanted to check it out, so last week I attended a performance by AWOLNATION at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, as well as a demonstration from Chef Art Smith. Both were absolutely wonderful and filled to brim with enthusiastic patrons. I think it's safe to say that this is what 'summer fun' is all about. 

Also taking place throughout the summer is Chicago’s 14th Annual Movies in the Park series, which kicked off May 29th. It features more than 250 outdoor screenings in parks across the city and draws thousands upon thousands during its run. I recently learned that this summer’s program features the addition of the “Chicago on Screen Local Film Showcase,” which highlights movies shot in or inspired by the city. Sadly, I haven’t been able to attend one of these screenings yet, but I hope to catch at least one before I mosey on to Minneapolis.

Lastly, I’ll be participating in the Rock n’ Roll Running Festival this weekend, running a 5K on Saturday and another on Sunday. There’s also a mini-marathon that takes place, but I just don’t think I’m to that point yet. The cool thing about this event is that it features a finish line performance from Cold War Kids, a great band I recommend everyone check out. And the organizers actually host this event across the US, Europe and the UK for anyone interested. 

Of course, these are just a few of the great things I’ll be taking part in here. To be honest, when I first departed Cleveland back in January, I spent most of my time looking into concerts and music festivals. And while I do plan on attending a few, I’ve come to realize that what each city, itself, has to offer is far more interesting, because these are the things that help shape its personality. Bands will come and go; festivals will move and grow; but our cities will always have the most to offer, because we’ll always have a voice in what comes next. 

Two quick side notes: One of the amazing designers at Boxing Clever created this shirt for me. If you dig it, please be sure to grab one. Once I sell enough, I'll get a portion of the sales and all the earnings go directly into the project. Also, Welcome back King

-Steve-